NEW YORK — Doomed is not a word that immediately comes to mind when considering the work of Joseph Altuzarra for his Altuzarra label. On the contrary, his most celebrated designs lead a charmed existence, just ask front row’s Rihanna. Ambitious, then is the designer who takes the haunting classic Rosemary’s Baby and the picturesque Barry Lyndon as his collection’s twin points of departure. “I became interested in the idea of a sinister and undone prettiness and romance, ill-fated and doomed.” The tension was present throughout and realized with poise and grace on the runway by Sigrid Cold, Hedvig Palm, Shu-Pei Qin, and Georgia Hilmer.
Joseph Altuzarra is plainly on a roll a young designer reaching the top of his game, the current holder of the CFDA/Vogue title of Womenswear Designer of the Year, with TV ads for his 'Target' collection (available in stores and online on Net-A-Porter from September 14th) collaboration (Eva Herzigová at her sexy best) airing all over America, and he’s about to be married to his boyfriend. All that dizzying recognition and personal bliss might act as a distraction for some creative people. Not this one. His spring collection was focused, realistic, sensitive, and, in its final passages, romantically beautiful in a way he’s never quite attempted before.
Netflix might also take some of the credit. The effects of staying home at night and watching films like Rosemary’s Baby and Barry Lyndon resulted in some of the makings of the collection—the sixties gingham checks at the opening, and the eighteenth-century florals at the end. But probably Altuzarra is reaching a stage in his career where his background seasonal research is far less relevant than the way he applies it. His customers have taught him that they like a narrow, sexily slit or unbuttoned skirt with a tailored blazer; it’s his signature.
Altuzarra also thinks about how a breezy shirtdress will look its best flying along the street it has short sleeves, appears buttoned up to the neck, and has a cunningly slit hemline, in pale blue viscose check. His references to Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, which is set in eighteenth-century Ireland, ended up as some extraordinary pattern-cutting at the end of the show. Tissue-fine floral fabrics bore the traces of pannier dress patterns of that era, which in the original would have been worn supported by wooden frames. For Altuzarra, though, they were deflated and beautifully flowy, worn beneath precisely-cut black tuxedo jackets.
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credit/Source: VOGUE
Candids: Kevin Tachman
Runway: Kim Weston Arnold / Indigitalimages
More To Love ...
“My first season was deeply rooted in the tailoring DNA of the brand,” said artistic director Jason Wu backstage after the show. “This season I felt I could change things up a little bit, push the boundaries. How do I do evening a Boss way?” By constructing cocktail dresses with techniques commonly used in suiting, he decided. “All of the corseted dresses were done with menswear felting,” Wu explained. “It’s Tron-esque (we agree!), but made so beautifully inside and out.”